It’s that time again for Max Manthou.
Zack AhYat and Luyang Gai are just hoping it’s that time at last.
State title time, that is.
Manthou, the Kentwood High sophomore with an affinity for baseball garb from the past but possessing a tennis game that is very much in the here and now, goes after state boys singles championship No. 2 this weekend after wrapping up his second straight West Central District crown last Saturday. Manthou downed two-time state doubles champion Brian McPhee of Bellarmine Prep in the title match at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway, 6-3, 6-1.
Kentridge seniors AhYat and Gai, who’ve come up on the short end of the state doubles final the past two years against McPhee and Simon Meske, secured their first district crown and now are taking aim at their first state crown. After placing second at West Central as sophomores, then settling for third last year after a loss in the semifinals, the Chargers pair beat Joey Hamilton and Zach Hoolihan of Bellarmine in the finals, 6-1, 6-4.
They’ll all head south to Vancouver for state, set for Friday and Saturday at the Vancouver Tennis Center.
AhYat and Gai know that, like Manthou, they’ll be everyone’s target, with McPhee in singles and Meske not playing this year.
“There’s going to be more pressure. But that’s what’s expected if you want to win a state championship,” Gai said.
Manthou figures the district tournament was every bit as good as a state preview, with himself, McPhee and Puyallup’s Scott Sullivan regarded as the top contenders.
“There’s pressure for sure to win,” Manthou said. “But I’ve played in so many of these (high-caliber) tournaments. There’s pressure on me, but I don’t really perceive it.”
The local state contingent will have a heavy Kentridge flavor. In addition to AhYat and Gai, KR’s No. 2 boys doubles team of Vineeth Omkaram and Paul Yi qualified by finishing fourth at district; sophomore Matt Overland placed fourth in singles, and the senior girls doubles tandem of Anna McIntosh and Chelsey White took fifth.